Amber Earns Her Ears

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Amber Sewell is 'earning her ears' at Disney World from the ground-up: her first experience as a Cast Member was her participation last year in Disney's CareerStart Program. Maybe you saw her at EPCOT's Electric Umbrella? If not, you'll be 'seeing' a lot of her on Disney Dispatch as she shares her stories about what it's like to be young and working for the Mouse. Amber's stories are fun, fascinating, and plain ol' fantastic. And maybe, just maybe, they'll put you on the road to earning your ears, too.

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FROM: Amber Earns Her Ears Published Mondays

The World Continues on Much as it has Since May

In one of Amber's most intriguing and insightful articles, she explains the vortex of working for Disney. It's a great place to work but can suck you in and causes some to lose sight of their real life goals. Great article, Amber. Oh, and a lesson in hair coloring.

The Disney College Program is a competitive, paid internship open to college students who want to spend a semester at either Disneyland or Disney World working, learning, and possibly laying the foundation for a Disney career.

After a successful stint in Disney's CareerStart Program, Amber Sewell began work in May 2011 at Disney World as part of the College Program. We'll follow her adventures every week right here...

Nothing really new has happened. Auditions are coming up again, and Lindsey is persistent, if nothing else. She plans on spending yet another morning at Animal Kingdom, waiting with at least a hundred other hopefuls to fill just a few spots. This time it's character auditions, not face, but at this point, she has succumbed to the Disney addiction, like many others before her, and has found that her goal in life is to remain here.

There is something to be said about the addictiveness of working for Disney. I myself fell victim to it during my first program, which is largely the reason why I returned this year. Something about the combination of co-workers, your job, and the fact that you're working at the happiest place on Earth all culminate in one huge desire to stay here for the rest of your life.

It's really becoming noticeable now, as the wave of people who came in on the fall/fall advantage programs are down below the hundred-day mark before their programs are up. Business attire is a common sight lately, as people are dashing off to interviews for professional internships and full-time positions. It can be a daunting task – one of the guys that I work with ended up sitting across a table from about eleven corporate Cast Members, elaborating on why they should hire him as a full-time Cast Member. Another friend has applied to as many professional internships as she is allowed.
It's as if Disney is its own black hole here in Orlando. People get sucked in by the pixie dust and euphoria, and it makes their previous lives seem mundane. I know it sounds more than slightly cynical, but it happens. To many people. Life can be entirely on track, and then when they come down here and find themselves having so much fun in a work environment, they begin to doubt if they actually truly know what they want from life.

Some people stay here and find ultimate contentment. One of the managers I work with has been with the company for fifteen years, and just now got moved to a corporate position. And he loves what he does, clearly, if he was willing to devote that much time to it. My sole condition to going on the program last year was that I return to school, because although I am a nerd and love school, the pull of Disney is not to be underestimated. Two people from my last program are still here with the company, and will very likely remain with it for the rest of their lives. Most of my roommates want to extend their programs; Lindsey doesn't want to leave.

So fair warning. Some people come down here and it makes them reconsider everything. Some stay here for a while, and decide that it's really not for them. That's why I'm glad I came down this second time; I've realized that this isn't for me. Whereas some people, had they returned for a second program, might have found their love of Disney refortified, and would have found it impossible to leave a second time.

As far as my daily life goes, nothing really has developed. I'm getting more days in the west now, which is a nice break from the monotony of package pickup, although I haven't decided whether or not I like being back. It looks like hours will start picking up again, as well, which is nice; I'm not a fan of the hundred dollar paycheck.

My family came down at the end of last week, which was wonderful. I spent mornings in the parks with them, and then went in to work in the afternoons. Mom remarked upon the rather poor job the woman at Kingdom Kutters did on my hair, and convinced me to stop by Target to pick up some hair colouring. They went back home, and on the next day I had off, I did as she said and bought some stuff that said it was auburn – fairly close to what I normally get it dyed back home.

With my mother's conviction that if my aunt can dye her hair herself, I can, I put on the cape and plastic gloves, mixed the colour in the bathroom, and felt like a complete fool squeezing red goop into my hair. I was a little wary of just how red the dye looked in my hair, but at that point, there was nothing I could do about it.

About fifteen minutes later, when I emerged from the shower where I'd rinsed everything out, I refused to look in the mirror until I'd blow dried it.

I looked like freaking Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Bright, anime red hair. It was brilliant. And not at all in the Disney Look. When I called my mother to tell her how exactly her advice had turned out, she didn't take it as seriously; she even told me that one of my friend's reactions (Fix it. Fix it now.) was a little extreme. And then she received the picture. "If I were there, I'd bring you about a pound of chocolate and some bleach."

The next morning I woke up early to venture to a salon I'd noticed behind my Barnes & Noble out on Sand Lake Road. I got there at ten – I didn't go in until three, so it should be plenty of time – and walked in, hoping they would have time to fix the damage I'd done. Thankfully, when I pulled down my hair and showed them just how bright it truly was – think Coca Cola red, Pikachu's cheeks red – and they learned I worked for Disney, they found time.

Four and a half hours and lots of money later, I less resemble an animated character, and could go to work without fear of being sent home.

So that's been life down here in Florida. As everything's going pretty much in the same vein as the past few months, if any of you have any suggestions, questions, or anything you'd like to know more about, let me know!


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